Formaldehyde has become a ubiquitous contaminant in the air, and people are exposed to it worldwide. However, few studies have evaluated the temporal-spatial levels/changes of formaldehyde exposure at residences, and the relationship between its outdoor and indoor levels has been rarely examined. The aim of this study was to assess community formaldehyde exposure in Sebes and Aiud, Romania to identify: (1) home environment characteristics that may play an important role in exposure; and understand: (2) if there were differences in formaldehyde levels between the two cities; (3) if there were temporal variations within each city; and (4) whether outdoor formaldehyde levels influence indoor levels. We simultaneously performed indoor and outdoor active air sampling for formaldehyde at each investigated residential location over a 3-year period and analyzed the samples by gas chromatography with flame ionization detector (GC-FID). The mean values of indoor and outdoor formaldehyde levels in both cities fell in the range 0.014–0.035 mg/m3. The correlation analysis indicated mostly positive but not significant (p > 0.05) correlations between indoor formaldehyde and microclimate factors (temperature, humidity, pressure). Notably, home insulation was found to be significantly correlated with increased indoor formaldehyde levels. There were no significant differences in mean indoor or outdoor formaldehyde levels between Sebes and Aiud over the 3-year study period. When comparing the formaldehyde levels in both cities over the 3-year period, only outdoor formaldehyde levels were significantly higher in 2016, as compared to those in 2017 and 2018.
Research funding: None declared.
Conflict of interest: Authors state no conflict of interest.
Informed consent: Not applicable.
Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to either human or animals use.
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